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The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 7, Chapter 1 Summary
We backtrack to a time when Tereza and Tomas were still living. They purchased a tiny cottage and are now living in the country. They are safe there, because no one is interested in the political lives of people living in the middle of nowhere. Tereza is happy to be away from the other women and her fears about the secret police. She and Tomas are finally alone, together. Tereza imagined that the country would embody the image she had of it in her mind from books she used to read as a child. But under Communism, she finds that it breaks from this ideal. It's not as communal and kindhearted as she imagined, and certain things (like celebrating Church holidays) are forbidden. Instead of reveling in their lifestyle, the people who live in the country long to live in the city. This, explains the narrator, is why the secret police have no power over the people who live there – the people in the country have nothing to lose, and so they have no fear. For this reason, they live in freedom. Tereza and Tomas are the only ones who came to the country voluntarily. They become good friends with the collective farm chairman, the man who was Tomas's former patient. He owns a pig named Mefisto that he treats like a pet dog. Karenin quickly makes friends with Mefisto. Tomas gets a job driving a pickup truck that brings the farm workers and their equipment out to the fields every day. Tereza takes cows out to pasture every day, and reads while they graze. Karenin is the happiest of the three of them because he likes the regularity of their new schedule. One day Tereza notices that Karenin is limping. It turns out that he has a lump from cancer. Karenin has an operation to remove the cancer. When he recovers from his operation, Karenin wakes in the middle of the night and jumps up on Tomas and Tereza's bed, wanting to cuddle.
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